How to Pick an Interior Designer College near Wetumpka Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Wetumpka AL, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s imperative that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s vital that you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But just where do you begin? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Wetumpka AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Wetumpka AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to begin your new profession in Wetumpka AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Wetumpka AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Wetumpka AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It’s imperative to verify that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Wetumpka AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Wetumpka AL college you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Wetumpka AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Wetumpka AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Wetumpka AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Wetumpka home, go to the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Wetumpka AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Wetumpka AL?
Wetumpka is a city in and the county seat of Elmore County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 6,528. In the early 21st century, Elmore County, long a rural area, became one of the fastest-growing counties in the state. The city is considered part of the Montgomery Metropolitan Area.
Wetumpka identifies as "The City of Natural Beauty". Among the notable landmarks are the Wetumpka crater and the Jasmine Hill Gardens, with a full-sized replica of the Temple of Hera of Olympia, Greece. Historic downtown Wetumpka developed on both sides of the Coosa River. It was near Fort Toulouse, built by French colonists in 1717, when they had claimed this territory for the king.
The word Wetumpka is derived from the Muscogee language (Creek) phrase we-wau tum-cau. The name Wetumpka is a historic Creek place word meaning "rumbling waters", believed to be a description of the sound of the nearby Coosa River at the rapids of the Devil's Staircase. The roar of the rapids reportedly could be heard for miles before the construction in the 20th century of Walter Bouldin Dam and Jordan Dam, when the river was captured as a reservoir behind the dam.
Choose the Right Interior Design School near Wetumpka AL
Choosing the right interior design school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Wetumpka AL.
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